If you are after tips on breastfeeding and expressing tips, click here.
How long does breastmilk keep for?
Room temperature: 6-8 hours (at temps below 26ºC)
Fridge: up to 72 days
Freezer: 3 months (–18°C), 6-12 months (–20°C)
Insulated: up to 24 hours (stored in a cool bag with icepacks)
How to store breastmilk
Once expressed, place breastmilk in the desired vessel, label it clearly and place it in the coldest part of your fridge for up to 72 hours. Do not store breastmilk in the door of the fridge as it is most susceptible to temperature change.
The best way to store expressed milk is in a clean glass or BPA free container with a tightly sealed lid. This helps keep any nasty bacteria out and is also a great sustainable option. It is important to sterilise and disinfect all expressing and baby equipment.
Breast milk storage bags are designed for this very purpose just be careful as they tear easily and can become contaminated more easily than other vessels.
Important: do not store breastmilk in anything designed for general household use.
Can you freeze breastmilk?
You can freeze breastmilk for up to 12 months, although it is recommended that it is used with six months. The main downside to freezing expressed milk is that the milk is different when the baby is a newborn to when they are a few months older.
To thaw, place the frozen container in the fridge overnight then gently warm by placing it in a bowl of warm water. It is not recommended that you microwave frozen breast milk as rapid heating methods affect the milk’s antibodies.
Once thawed it is recommended that the milk is consumed within 24 hours. Do not refreeze previously thawed milk.
How to warm breastmilk
If your baby is happy to drink cold milk you can use expressed milk straight from the fridge otherwise to warm the milk to body temperature place the vessel in a bowl of warm water.